McAuley dials in to win
  |  First Published: February 2013

Gladstone-based barra angler Scott McAuley showed is intimate knowledge for Awoonga Dam to take his first win on the 2012 JM Gillies Barra tour at the Squidgies Awoonga Dam morning event with 9/10 fish for 686cm.

Fishing the Riverstone Creek section of the dam, McAuley would target weed bommies in 8-10ft of water near the standing timber. McAuley would make long casts across the bommies before ripping his modified Reidy’s B52 in white to the required depth, before imparting an aggressive twitch and pause retrieve. He also changed the standard trebles to Decoy wide gapes to ensure he didn’t miss a bite.

His tackle of choice was an Egrell 6’ Barra Spin matched with a Shimano Stella 3000, spooled with 20lb Suffix 832 and a 55lb Snyder leader.

The key to McAuley’s technique was knowing the location of the bommies and where the lure was at all times.

“The bommies came up to 4ft off the bottom. To get the most out of each cast you needed to allow the lure to float over the weed and then work it down the other side where most of the barra where sitting,” said McAuley.

To work out the location of the bommies McAuley used his Simrad side imaging, “Without side imaging I simply would not have been able to pin point the locations. It’s more about finding structure rather than fish but it was confidence boosting to see fish swimming through the area.”

On day one McAuley only managed four fish but on day two he dialled into the exact location and was able to boat over a dozen fish through the session.

“Once I had worked out where the fish where sitting I was able to sit in the location and work over the fish that where transitioning through the location. I think I filled my limit by 9.30am and spent the rest of the session upgrading.”

Grech Rips and Rolls to second

Daniel Grech had yet another consistent showing catching 8/10 fish for 533cm on his way to taking another second place.

Grech targeted fish in the back of a bay down river from New Zealand Gully, with all of his fish coming in an area the size of a backyard swimming pool.

“There were good numbers of fish transitioning through this small area. It was just a matter of casting until you got the bites,” said Grech.

Targeting the fish holding off the deep weed edges adjacent to the creek bed, Grech would cast up onto the shallower sections before starting a continuous ripping retrieve, his lure of choice for this was a Jackal Squirrel Hank Tune in boney colour.

“The technique I used was similar to some of the aggressive jerk baiting that I have seen US bass anglers use, but I wouldn’t pause the lure for more then a second,” said Grech.

His tackle of choice for this work was an ACM Rods Flats Caster 6’ 6” matched with a Daiwa T3 Balistic spooled with 20lb Suffix 832 and a 40lb Black Magic FC leader.

With all of his fish coming early in the session Grech had to make the most of his early bite in hope of getting his limit.

“Both days I got all my fish before 9am. I tried to stick at it and grind out a bite but with no back up spots I just couldn’t find that last fish I needed to fill my limit each day,” said Grech.

Grech may have missed out on his limit both days but will 67 fish hitting the Brag Mat for an average of just over 66cm Awoonga seems to be coming back online for all those anglers hitting its pristine waters over summer.

For all your information on BARRA tournament fishing, head to www.australianbarra.com.au.

Big Barra

The Big Barra went to Colin Brett who caught a cracking 101cm Awoonga barra. Brett’s lure of choice was a Lucky Craft 78 Pointer, with the fish coming off a tree in the main basin.

“I ripped it past the tree and it hit the lure and ran straight out of the snag into the deeper water, I don’t think I would have landed it if it went back into the structure,” said Brett.

Winning Tackle

Rod: Egrell 6’ Barra Spin

Reel: Shimano Stella 3000

Line: Suffix 832 20lb

Leader: Snyder 55lb

Winning Edge

“Using markers on the edge to remember the locations of submerged structure will help when you’re working a detailed pattern. In turn, it should also give you more confidence that you are working your lure in the correct zone,” said McAuley

Place Angler Team FishLength (cm) Cash Prizes
1 Scott McAuley Team Lowrance/Reidy's Lures 9/10626 $600 Prize pack
2 Daniel Grech Rapala - ACM Rods 8/10533 $400 Prize pack
3 Jon Millard Rapala - ACM Rods 7/10443 $300 Prize pack
4 Colin Brett EJ Todd/Area 51 Jig Heads 5/10356 $200 Prize pack
5 Tom Wood Gin Gin Hotel 5/10316 Prize pack
6 Craig Griffiths EJ Todd/Area 51 Jig Heads 5/10311 Prize pack
7 Peter Price Team Lowrance/Reidy's Lures 4/10263 Prize pack
8 Elaine Sanderson Tackle Warehouse 4/10259 Prize pack
9 Jake Schwerin Fish Catching Machines 3/10255 Prize pack
10 Robert Wood Gin Gin Hotel 4/10246 Prize pack


Scott McAuley took out his first win on the 2012 JM Gillies Barra tour at the Squidgies Awoonga Dam.


Daniel Grech had another consistent session, but just missed out on the top prize.


Colin Brett won the event’s Big Barra with a cracking 101cm Awoonga barra.

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